Insulin: moving the needle

insulin vials
©Jacob Ehrbahn

One of the most lucrative pharma markets is about to change

Slack website

Slack: taut valuation

Chat service reportedly fundraising at a $2.8bn appraisement

If Silicon Valley will not come to Wall Street, then Wall Street has to come to Silicon Valley
©Winni Wintermeyer

Silicon Valley: Space race

Tech companies are sending their cash into orbit

Luxury goods: differentiation rules

Its goods may be subtle but its message is far from understated

Kraft / Heinz
©Bloomberg/Reuters

Heinz-Kraft: Warren’s buffet

Warren Buffett and 3G have made a lot of money in food. Who is next to be eaten?

Nigerian banks: wrong concentrations

A few, well-capitalised lenders dominate but they need to broaden their offering

London Stock Exchange:goodbye, Dubai

Is it time to follow Borse Dubai and sell LSE?

Facebook: buy button

As it edges closer to selling stuff, is Zuckerberg’s app competing with Amazon?

Mengniu: washed white

Dairy company is spending for the future

Darden Restaurants: back for seconds

Turns out hedge funds can operate a company

  • The math behind Heinz/Kraft

    Missing from the press release on the Kraft Heinz deal is just how much explicit value Kraft shareholders are getting. It’s an odd structure where Kraft gets 49 per cent of the new company PLUS a one-time dividend of $16.50.

    Kraft shares have traded up to more than $80.

  • Ocado, mashed into guacamole

    Lex has a tricky realtionship with go-go e-retail businesses. Their valuations – that is, the relationship of their stock prices to their profits – imply long-term growth rates inconsistent with the normal competitive pressures in retail. So mostly we make surly comments about them. There is, however, another side of the story. Online retail leadership does seem to persist. So in a recent note about Ocado, the UK grocer, we departed a little from our previous dour tone, and tried to articulate the bull case. Here is our summary:

    [sceptics about Ocado's valuation] have failed to accept the core principles of online retail investors. Namely that much more of the market will convert to online; that the leader online, because of economies of scale, will never be overtaken by the also-rans; that margins online will expand beyond those of the traditional competitors; and that the bricks-and-mortar leaders will never become digitally competent. Accept this catechism, and all else follows. It is easy to doubt the four together, but in Ocado’s case, no one of them is obviously wrong, either.

  • Letter from Lex – Thinking big, a little

    There is a technical problem with the “data warehouse” at FT HQ (we are told) and that makes sending out our subscriber email impossible this week. So we’ve posted it here. Onwards!

    Readers,

  • The £7bn problem with a BT breakup

    Last week Lex kicked around the possibility that BT would spin off or otherwise separate its network division, Openreach. BT’s competitors, such as TalkTalk and Sky, depend on Openreach’s wires. They suggest that BT is (to exaggerate their view slightly) under-investing in the Openreach network and using the monopoly profits from it to subsidize its other businesses. It’s not very clear to Lex that a spin-off would lead to better service. But whether it would or not, Claire Enders of Enders Analysis has pointed out another little problem with the spin-off idea: that BT’s mountainous pension liabilities make it effectively impossible. She writes:

    In any spinoff of Openreach, the government would have to consider whether to keep the pension fund obligations with BT, spin them off with Openreach, or split them between the two. The pension fund trustees might have to approve the plan, or at least set conditions for it. Crucially, the Crown Guarantee would also have to be considered.

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